June 1, 2005 Minutes

City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Planning Committee




Wednesday, June 1st, 2005


Council Chambers
Richmond City Hall


Councillor Bill McNulty, Chair
Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Rob Howard
Councillor Harold Steves


Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt, Vice-Chair

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.










(Report:  May 20/05, File No.:  08-4105-00/Vol 01 xref: 10-6360-00) (REDMS No. 1564039,1575899, 1576211)



The Director of Development, Raul Allueva, who indicated that a number of presentation boards were available if required, provided a brief background of the review of the Arterial Road and Lane Establishment Policies, which had included an Interim Strategy being applied as of the fall of 2004, further interim measures being endorsed in March 2005, and an endorsement of public consultation throughout the community.  Mr. Allueva said that two open houses had been held since the public consultation meeting held for the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area, and that the results of those meetings, plus one meeting yet to be held,would be reported on in July 2005. 



The Co-ordinator of Development, Holger Burke, then spoke about the four options that had been presented at the open house for the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area, and the support that had been given to each.  The option supported by 85% of respondees was for no change to the current minimum lot size.  In response to that, staff were now proposing that Granville Avenue be removed from the Lane Establishment and Arterial Road Redevelopment Policies, that the single-family large lot size policy in place for the westerly portion of the neighbourhood be reconfirmed, and that a similar new single-family large lot size policy be established for the east side.  Mr. Burke indicated that based on the interim strategies and the public meetings, new non-compatible development applications were not being accepted in the area.



In response to a question from the Chair, Mr. Burke said that the north side of Westminster Highway had not been consulted as part of the area in question, but could be consulted at a future date.



A brief discussion ensued among Committee members and staff as to the length of the moratorium being applied, during which the Manager, Policy Planning, Terry Crowe, said that although the current policy stated that 5 years must pass prior to a subsequent change being made to the policy, an increased time span may be possible.



Mr. Maurice White, 6791 Gamba Drive, read a written submission in representation of his neighbourhood, a copy of which is attached as Schedule 1 and forms a part of these minutes.



Ms. K. Chahal, 4451 Granville Avenue, speaking on her own behalf as well as for the owner of 4611 Granville Avenue, said that she understood the multi-family and townhouse opposition expressed by the area residents, and further that the lane option may not be the best option.  She then questioned what options were available for the two properties if subdivision was not allowed.  Ms. Chahal also spoke about the attendance at the public meeting, and questioned the reliability of the comments received and also their geographic location in relation to her property.  Ms. Chahal then expressed concern that the response findings might be biased, and she asked what the proposed denial of her application was based on.



Mr. M. Puttonen, 6711 Gamba Drive, indicated that he would bring a scale model of his property and the proposed townhouse applications that would border his property to the public hearing on this matter.  Mr. Puttonen then said that he had spoken to the owners of properties on the north side of Westminster Highway and that subdivision was not favoured; that he thought “lanes” were in fact driveways on townhouse sites; that he didn’t think it was Council’s intent to drive oldtimers out; and, that the community’s organization had restored his faith in democracy. 



Ms. Barbara Kelm, 6640 Gamba Drive, said that she was not in favour of townhouses or lanes in the area, and she questioned whether the application for subdivision on Tucker Avenue would be allowed.  In response to the advisement by Mr. Burke that under the proposed recommendation subdivision would not be allowed on the Tucker Avenue property, Ms. Kelm said that it did not seem right to her that properties such as hers with large frontages wouldn’t be allowed to subdivide when the subdivision would result in similar sized lots to sixty percent of the properties in the neighbourhood.  She then asked what options were available for her property.



The Director of Development, Raul Allueva, provided in response that a lot size policy could not address every situation but intended to create uniformity in the minimum lot size required for the future.  Although a variety of factors would be required to be met, Mr. Allueva indicated that consolidation of properties could take place that could result in subdivision possibilities.  Mr. Allueva also indicated that under the historical Arterial Road Redevelopment and Lane Establishment Policies, townhouse development would not have occurred on non-arterial roads.



Mr. Dan Sandhu, 6811 Riverdale Drive, spoke in support of the recommendation, noting that this was one of the best neighbourhoods in Richmond, and one of the few that had retained some semblance of its original character and family environment.  Mr. Sandhu also said that a considerable amount of money had been spent on renovations in the area; that the lots were large enough for children to play in; that there was enough high density flanking established neighbourhoods; that family members living on the north side of Westminster Highway were also opposed to multi-family; that 33 foot lots would adversely affect the investments residents have made in their homes; and, that he was in favour of a moratorium on  townhouses and small single-family lot development in the area.  Mr. Sandhu thanked all those present for attending the meeting.



Mr. Juma, 6660 No. 1 Road, questioned why No. 1 Road from Granville Avenue to Westminster Highway had been excluded from the arterial road designation, and was therefore being penalized.  Mr. Juma said that he supported townhouse development on the larger lots along No. 1 Road, and he spoke about the difficulties that his brother, an owner of one 100 x 200 ft. lot on No. 1 Road, had experienced in first wanting to subdivide his lot into 2 lots at a time when the City wanted townhouse development, to find now that this portion of No. 1 Road was no longer considered an arterial road. 



Ms. L. Nielsen, 6831 Gamba Drive, a 20 year resident, said that she loved the area, and that, 12 years ago, she was one of the ringleaders who supported a development freeze in the area.  Ms. Nielsen said that although she was not in favour of high density townhouses in the area, she did not think it would be fair to support a minimum 59 ft. lot frontage as there were long term residents such as herself who might want to sell their backlands.  Ms. Nielsen felt that there were other options available, and that if a careful review was undertaken the process could work.



Mr. John Lam, 6900 Gamba Drive said that he loved the area very much, and that he did not want townhouses or high density in the area as it would change a nice area in which people loved their houses.  Mr. Lam asked whether Council wanted to kick out those residents who love their neighbourhoods.



A resident of 4840 Webster Drive said that he loved his neighbourhood and that he did not want rezoning to smaller lots allowed on the north side of Westminster Highway as smaller lots would not look good in the area.



Ms. P. Sowden, 4880 Mariposa Court, said that hers was one of the nicest, calmest, most kid friendly neighbourhoods in Richmond.  She then spoke about some areas where several homes had been replaced with townhouses, noting that she did not feel that the City needed more growth as there was enough growth in the City Centre.  Ms. Sowden said that she wanted the neighbourhood left as it is with no reduction of lot size or multi family development.



Mr. Borovsky, 6931 Gibbons Way, said that although some had said that the  large lots could be subdivided, lots in the west part of Vancouver ranged in size from 60 ft. frontages to 2 acres and there, no one would consider subdividing them.  In addition, Mr. Borovsky said that those wanting to subdivide generally wanted to leave the neighbourhood and therefore didn’t care about the neighbourhood.  In indicating his love for his neighbourhood, Mr. Borovsky asked that it be left as it is.



Ms. A. Akimow, 6720 Coldsfoot Avenue, felt that Richmond needed better planning.  Ms. Akimow said that the Railway and Granville area was a disaster and that townhouses were appearing everywhere, and that a more balanced approach was needed in support of progress.  Ms. Akimow also questioned why one portion of No. 1 Road could not be developed, and why townhouses were allowed on the west side but not the east.



Ms. A. Summers, 6231 Nicolle Place, said that she loved her neighbourhood and she thanked City Planning staff for maintaining a reasonable choice for purchasers of homes.  Ms. Summers said that each purchaser had a reasonable expectation for the area in which they chose to live and that good planning and consistency looked after all of those choices.  In expressing her appreciation that Nicolle Place had been kept a beautiful area, Ms. Summers said that those with large lots had the choice to move to smaller lots elsewhere if they wanted.



Mr. M. Smith, 6580 Mayflower Drive, a past advisory planning committee member, said that staff should have interfaced better with local communities to promote better attitudes.  In noting the large group that had been aggressively dealing with this situation, Mr. Smith said that he felt they should not have been put through this, and that it should have been determined where the areas were that people did not want a change and dedicate them accordingly. 



It was moved and seconded




That the results of the public consultation process in the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area outlined in the report (dated May 20, 2005 from the Director of Development), be received for information;




That Granville Avenue, between Railway Avenue and No. 1 Road, be removed from the Lane Establishment and Arterial Road Redevelopment Policies;




That the following recommendations be forwarded to Public Hearing:





that Single-Family Lot Size Policy 5411 for the westerly portion of the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area (Section 11-4-7) permitting existing Single-Family Housing District, Subdivision Area E (R1/E) be reconfirmed; and





that Council adopt a new Single-Family Lot Size Policy for the easterly portion of the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area (Section 11-4-7) and for the lots on the south side of Granville Avenue between Railway Avenue and No. 1 Road (Section 14-4-7) restricting rezoning and subdivision to the Single-Family Housing District, Subdivision Area E (R1/E); and




that notice of the Public Hearing on both Single-Family Lot Size Policies be sent to the area notified of the Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road public open house on April 27, 2005 at the Thompson Community Centre.


                                                Public comments received during the Public Consultation process held for 
                                                the  Granville Avenue and No. 1 Road area.



The Chair then thanked all those present for attending the meeting.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:35 p.m.).









Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Wednesday, June 1, 2005.



Councillor Bill McNulty

Deborah MacLennan
Administrative Assistant